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Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts: Time to switch?


Best Answer highcountry , 11 April 2017 - 10:05 AM

To the original OP. You are involved with a bunch of lazy, selfish, self centered and some dysfunctional parents and the mess of a pack they created. The previous CC did NOT fix the issues, they told you that as they were burned out and fed up. You inherited a bunch of adult babies who are completely used to someone else doing everything for them, complain when everything is not just so, complain that you don't send them enough reminders....on and on. These people will not change. The only way to fix it is to eliminate (Don't allow them to recharter) all the deadwood adults and complaining parents and start with people who you can somewhat depend on and are reasonable functional people, not adult babies. Be prepared for all kinds of back biting, complaints, drama etc if you take this route. To my way of looking at things, way too much grief, drama and stress for someone trying to VOLUNTEER and make things good. 

It is high time these dysfunctional group of people stop having a place to dump all the work/grief etc and either learn to do something for themselves of have the pack sink into the swampy mess these people created. The longer you stay in there the longer you will be enabling them, they are never going to step up or even appreciate what you do or change....their problem, not yours.

 

Your son will only be young a short while, find another pack and just go. The funds thing for the adult application may be a blessing from above, you are not an official anything other than being a doormat for loser parents and "helpers". Go elsewhere and give your son a good experience, help in a pack that has it going, enjoy your life and other people that have a clue. As for the deserving boys in the existing pack, yes maybe stinks for them but they need to make their own decisions and find their own way, you cannot fix the world. Have a backbone, fully realize the reality of the situation, MAKE A DECISION....stick to the decision and move on. Don't spend any time explaining it or justifying it or answer the why's why not's etc. Walk away clean and move on, don't feel bad and don't look back.

 

Go choose another pack NOW, DO NOT do another thing about the adult app and funds do not mention it and do not yourself write a check and pay so you can be neglected, abused, taken for granted. Sign up your son in the other pack, notify them by email that you are not the CC and you and your son have left for pack X, do not discuss with these bozos ahead of time, do not tell them in person. They may not even bother reading the email and become bewildered when you are suddenly not there to spoon feed them and take them by the hand and make everything all better for them. They will certainly resent you and worse as they fully expect you to stick around and do everything. The real anger is they deep down realize it ain't gonna happen in the pack anymore unless they actually do something, which they seem incapable of and probably won't.

 

At the end of the day you have to live with yourself, do the best for your son and try to live a life you feel you have made a worthwhile commitment and try to be happy. You have one life to live, don't waste it on miscreants.

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#1 RMI2.0

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 11:40 AM

Hello all. Thanks in advance for reading. I am at a difficult point and I would really like some perspective on the situation.

 

My son is a Wolf. I am not happy with our den meetings because we really don't seem to do much. Meaning, we seem to just barely scrape by fulfilling the requirements in the handbook as if we're doing homework. Its like checking boxes and no real "content", if that makes sense. We never know ahead of time what we will be doing that week. Many times Den meetings are cancelled and not rescheduled. We have an assistant Den leader who stands by, has no problem criticizing what is happening, and yet does nothing. Not to be a hypocrite, I have offered to help, made suggestions etc and nothing comes of it. The Den leader freely admits he is disorganized and doesn't plan many activities. 

 

Meanwhile I was asked to be the committee chair. I was extremely hesitant and expressed this to the former chair. The former chair did so many things outside of the requirements, it was to the point where she was doing everyone else's job for them. Also she babied them to the point of dependency (emailing them reminders over and over, accepting last minute changes that would almost cause chaos etc). I told the former chair I would not do it because she was doing everyone else's job for them. She assured me that she had fixed that problem. Apparently that was not the case, as I found out.

 

So 2 months into being the committee chair and I want to leave the pack. The cub master doesn't do anything. I mean that literally; I have no idea what he does. There have been things he needed to do, and he would email me last minute and just brush it off and tell me to do them like I was his secretary. He doesn't know how to run pack meetings and asks me to do it (he's been doing this for several years now!). He didn't take care of a critical step before a recent event, and emailed me last minute telling me to do it. I stood up to him and told him that he was behaving inappropriately and asked that he get more organized. He seemed quite surprised that I actually complained (because the former chair always just did whatever he said) and promised he would try harder. 

 

A few days later at our pack meeting, he left 10 minutes into the meeting.

 

Most of the committee members have a don't-care attitude. They don't read or respond to emails. We have annual calendars, a website, we have committee meetings and reminder emails about important dates...yet I still get emails all the time where den leaders are asking when the next pack meeting will be. They would know this if they read emails, yet they don't, yet they somehow have time to send me emails asking for the information I already provided to them.

 

Last week I got an email saying that BSA couldn't process my adult leadership application because not enough funds had been deposited into our unit account. I contacted the treasurer, who is also the spouse of the pack master to let her know. She said she would fix the problem. One week later, the funds have still not been added.

 

So technically, I'm doing the work of the committee chair, and the pack won't put the funds in so they can process my application.

 

There are a few awesome den leaders who really want the pack to succeed. I don't want to be a quitter, but at this point I'm only 2 months in and feeling like I regret being roped into this. While volunteer work is not easy, this is a giant thankless headache and I don't even have fun Den meetings to make it somewhat worthwhile. With them not even getting my application in right, I feel like I'm not even really in the position anyways.

 

I really need advice on this. As I said I have expressed my issues with the cub master. I can't fix the committee, and I have tried to help the den leader. At this point I want to resign as committee chair, see the den meetings through till summer then switch packs. But I'd really like to hear what others would do.

 

Thanks.


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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 02:30 PM

Welcome. What leader training have you taken either online or in person with your Council?


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#3 Col. Flagg

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 02:44 PM

I really need advice on this. As I said I have expressed my issues with the cub master. I can't fix the committee, and I have tried to help the den leader. At this point I want to resign as committee chair, see the den meetings through till summer then switch packs. But I'd really like to hear what others would do.

 

I think many of us have been there. I cannot tell you want to do, but I can tell you what I did in a similar situation. I looked in to my sons eyes and saw that he loved the program. I looked at the other kids who had no idea all the BS I put up with, and they loved the program. I looked at the other parents willing to help...and I asked them to help more.

 

There's a reason the phrase "For the boys" is often conjured during the Cub years. You put up with a TON of crappola. In the end, it is not for you or even for the other kids. You do it for YOUR kid...and that's all that matters.

 

It *will* get better. It just takes time.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 03:50 PM

Welcome from me as well!

 

Not every pack can be a winner, but there are a lot more packs like you have described than what we would all like to see.  But I too would focus on my son's experience in the pack.  He's there to have fun and if the den leader isn't up to it, then maybe some assistance on your part can spice it up for your son and his friends.  If not, there's nothing wrong with sitting in on the den meetings and maybe having his den over to the house for an impromptu gathering at a park or just a walk in the woods.  Getting to know the other boys' parents would be another option to strengthen the den.  Safety in numbers kinda thing.

 

Don't worry too much about an ineffective pack program, the den is your son's focus, focus with him at the den level.  If the current den leader is ineffective, get in line to be the den leader next year.

 

As mentioned, it's for the boys!


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#5 MrBob

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 07:13 PM

This immediately jumped out at me:

 

 

I contacted the treasurer, who is also the spouse of the pack master to let her know.  She said she would fix the problem. One week later, the funds have still not been added.

 

 

Is the Cubmaster's spouse providing you and the rest of the Committee with an accurate monthly accounting of all the funds in the Pack's bank account and of all expenses paid?  Have you seen the bank statements?

 

Color me paranoid, but... I'm a unit Treasurer myself.


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#6 NJCubScouter

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:32 AM

RMI2.0, your post suggests that you have run a number of pack meetings in place of the Cubmaster.  It also strongly suggests that the Cubmaster is not even coming close to doing his job.  It sounds to me like maybe you are the right person to be Cubmaster. Have you thought about switching from Committee Chair to Cubmaster, and and simultaneously finding another adult in the pack to be CC to replace you?  Maybe the CM would welcome the suggestion that he step down.  Of course, you would need the approval of the Charter Org. Rep. (or Institution Head) for these changes.

 

So you have at least three options:  You can quit, or you can withdraw into your den as Stosh suggests, or you can try to shake things up and turn the pack around.  If you choose the latter, I think the first thing you need is a real Cubmaster, which might be you.


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#7 David CO

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 11:11 AM

If you have been "roped" into taking the chairmanship, and you feel like it is a "death of a thousand cuts", then you should not be in that position.  Your instincts are right.  Get out.


Edited by David CO, 08 April 2017 - 11:11 AM.

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#8 RMI2.0

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 12:25 PM

Hi all,

 

Thanks for giving me your opinions. I will try to answer the questions.

 

1. I take as much online training as I can (through myscouting). I also signed up for additional classes like the water safety for this summer. I think only one or two other people in the committee actually take any training classes. 

 

2. I entirely agree that this is for the boys experiences. That's why this is such a challenge, and also so frustrating. I certainly don't expect everything to be perfect. It just seems like only a very select few even care. Having the headaches in this position would be easier to swallow if I saw my son getting more out of it. Some other dens (older groups) are VERY active and do so much. We can't seem to get other den leaders to be inspired by that, or simply use their resources to do more. Its very "by the seat of our pants" at the den meetings. The den leader freely admits that he is disorganized and isn't very active with the kids. A few parents have stepped in to try to help organize meetings, provide resources etc. It is very hard to know how to help when we ask what the upcoming plans are (so we can try to beef up the meetings and make them more fun and productive) and the Den leader doesn't even really know what he will be doing in a few weeks. 

 

3. With respect to #2, I admit I am only one person. Doing the work of the CC, most of the job of the CM, and then trying to corral the Den leader into being more effective is probably not reasonable. Naturally, I show up to all den meetings and believe me I am there on deck helping out. Heck, I've even shown up to help out for things when my own son wasn't able to make it. I've sent the Den leader all sorts of resources and ideas for activities we could do. I tried to get the kids signed up for a color run, to go to several national parks/monuments, fishing, camping etc etc etc. I'm met with the email equivalent of crickets chirping. 

 

4. The crickets chirping is a familiar theme, and is ever present amongst the committee members. I don't anticipate they will change, since these are people who for the most part have been in their positions for several years. They don't respond to emails, texts, phone calls etc. I've asked a few other members if it was "just me" but apparently it has been an ongoing problem. The ones who don't answer are also the first ones to complain that they don't get enough reminders. Its petty things like that.

 

5. I had done a huge amount of work to get a special pack-wide trip planned. It was a headache from the get-go because the CM kept waiting too long to decide on things and we kept losing spots for bookings. I needed very timely responses and I could not get any. My son was in a very serious accident and I desperately needed help wrapping up loose ends on the trip while I cared for my son. Nobody would step up, and when someone finally begrudgingly did, they slopped it together half-heartily and the trip was disorganized and messy in the end. Some even treated me like I messed up the trip for just "bailing" on it. I couldn't help but take that personally and feel very bitter about that. It was a traumatic accident for us as a family, (one which he is scarred and still recovering from btw) and what I asked for was just a small amount of work after I had done so much. Its hard to like people and want to work with them after that. 

 

6. The treasurer being the spouse of the CM has never sat right with me. We get monthly reports and while for the most part is pretty much in order, there are a few question marks there that never seem to be answered. No huge amounts of money or anything. But I do question how it gets balanced when I know for a fact I'm still waiting on some money to be reimbursed to me and yet its not reflected on the monthly report. So yea, I question it. 

 

7. David CO: I hate feeling like that, and saying that. Truly. I do a lot of volunteer work even aside from this in the community. Had I come into this knowing that it would be my job to fix everyone else's attitude and work style, that would be a different story. 


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#9 MrBob

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 06:14 AM

Is there another FUNCTIONAL Pack in your area?


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#10 RMI2.0

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:38 AM

Is there another FUNCTIONAL Pack in your area?

Absolutely. Several, actually. I definitely don't want my son to be pulled from scouts altogether. 


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#11 Col. Flagg

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 11:50 AM

7. David CO: I hate feeling like that, and saying that. Truly. I do a lot of volunteer work even aside from this in the community. Had I come into this knowing that it would be my job to fix everyone else's attitude and work style, that would be a different story. 

 

Focus on your Den and your family. After all, it is YOUR kid you are doing this for. The other kids in the Den will be along for the ride. If not one steps up to help, have Pack meetings be where the bling is handed out and nothing more. The good thing about Cubs is that people cycle in and out, so soon you should be rid of the dead weight. Just bide your time until you leave and then go and don't look back.

 

It sounds harsh, but sometimes you cannot change the systemic apathy that might exist in your unit. You have to find the balance between beating your head against the wall and focusing your valuable time on those who appreciate it and matter.


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#12 RMI2.0

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 05:50 PM

If not one steps up to help, have Pack meetings be where the bling is handed out and nothing more. 

 

 

I wish we even did that. Somewhere along the way they decided that Pack meetings had to be big events every single month. By that I mean big pack activities. We don't even hand out awards. Those are given to the Den leaders to do. Ours just kind of calls the kid's name during a den meeting and gives them whatever belt loop. So, pack meetings have zero awards, yet there is this big stress to make these some huge awesome thing each month. 

 

We have at least 2 other packs in my immediate area (within a few miles of each other). There is one that has a great reputation. I'm considering seeing about sitting in on a den and pack meeting to see how they run it. I think that might give me some perspective on this issue.

 

After all, this boils down to my son as you said. So, I could run myself ragged trying to fix a pack of 100 kids + parents, or move to another one of the several functional packs around that already has their stuff together. 


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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:23 AM

I wish we even did that. Somewhere along the way they decided that Pack meetings had to be big events every single month. By that I mean big pack activities. 

 

What kind of "big events" and "big activities"?

 

I also want to address the word "they", as in "somewhere along the way they decided..."  Who is "they"?  Are "they" even there anymore?  You are the CC now.  You and the other committee members and leaders are now "they".  If the pack is not having pack meetings as defined in the Cub Scout Leader Handbook (or whatever it is called now) - and I say "if" because I don't know what your "big events" and "big activities" are - then the committee can direct the Cubmaster to conduct proper pack meetings.  Although as I said before, from one of your posts it sounds to me like your Cubmaster is not actually doing that job and probably has no interest in doing so.


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#14 fred johnson

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:58 AM

It's a hard choice.  I wish you the best at it.  The committee chair is key to the unit.  Unfortunately, when the unit has bad habits or needs fixes, it's the committee chair's job to guide the change.  Too often in Cub Scouts the committee chair is relatively new.  It can be extremely intimidating.  

 

It's always a choice.

  • Do you and your son have friends or neighbors in the current pack ?
  • Do you and your son know anyone in the other pack ?
  • How much effort would be involved in trying to fix things ?

As much as I hate troop shopping, switch if your current pack is not a good match ?  Even though Cub Scouts is now 5+ years, you have a relatively short time for it to be a good experience for your son.  


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 12:01 PM

Quite often inexperienced Scouters, non-registered volunteers and parents come into this forum to tell us about various issues and to seek advice.  Often the advice from some in this forum (sometimes including me) is along the lines of "find another pack/troop".  I can understand this when we are talking to someone who has no power to change anything, such as when it is "just" a parent and nobody is listening to them.  But I am having a difficult time reconciling this advice with the fact that RMI2.0 is the committee chair.

 

So, RMI2.0, I have already given you some advice that is a little different - to consider becoming Cubmaster - and now I am going to give a little more.   Take charge.  (That sounds like a command, but what I am really suggesting is that you consider doing these things and do them if you think it is a good idea.)  You are chair of the body that is responsible for making sure the pack has proper leadership.  You have a Cubmaster who is not doing his job.  Try to find a new one, whether it be yourself or someone else, and if it is yourself, find a new CC.  If you think the pack treasurer is not doing a good job, suggest to her, politely and courteously, what needs to be fixed.  If it doesn't get fixed, keep in mind that the treasurer is a committee member (or at least she should be), meaning she reports to YOU.  If the den leaders, committee members and parents are ignoring your emails, that is a bit more difficult to fix since you can't replace everybody.  Maybe you should have a "mandatory parent meeting" including all leaders and parents.  You have a good opening to do so, since you are still a "new" CC.  Before the meeting, make sure people understand that they really need to be there.  At the meeting, ask whether people prefer different ways of communicating, and try to accommodate them if it is not too much of a burden.  Tell them that unless everybody pulls together and starts doing their job, and communicating properly, and/or new people step up to do the jobs of those who aren't, the pack will not survive.  If it turns out that they really don't care, well at least you tried.  Then you can move on, but at least you tried.  (Of course, you can move on now if you want, this is just some friendly advice.)


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#16 gumbymaster

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 01:19 PM

As  you may have gathered, your problems, while very relevant to you, are common throughout scouting.

 

One of my first recommendations is to meet with your Unit Commissioner, if you don't know who that is, work with the District Commissioner or District Executive to find out.  This is a person who's job is to mentor you for your roll and challenges.  They are often seasoned Scouters, whom while they may not have dealt with your specific problem before, may have colleagues who have or have other similar experiences to help you.

 

If nothing else, it will be nice to have at least one person on your side. :)

 

It is also probably relevant to ask about your Chartering Organization, if they are active, bring them in.  If you have almost no interaction with them, then you have more freedom.

 

Find the parents that do care and put them on the committee with you, given specific (small) tasks that each is responsible for.

Once you can start off loading some of the smaller specific and recurring tasks, it will allow you to focus on larger tasks like if a change in leadership is needed.

 

Best of luck for you


Edited by gumbymaster, 10 April 2017 - 01:21 PM.

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#17 MrBob

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 02:51 PM

Please review the below quote from the OP:

 

Last week I got an email saying that BSA couldn't process my adult leadership application because not enough funds had been deposited into our unit account. I contacted the treasurer, who is also the spouse of the pack master to let her know. She said she would fix the problem. One week later, the funds have still not been added.

 

 

OP is not the Committee Chairperson.  Even though she may very well have been performing the tasks of a committee chair, she isn't one.  She isn't a registered adult leader.  She can still walk away.   :)

 

 

 

RMI2.0 - you need to make a decision, and quickly, on what you want to do:  a) take your son and go to a properly functioning Pack, or b) attempt to right a sinking ship who's crew is either ignorant or uncaring of the fact that its taking on water.  If you go the b) route, expect a lot of personal confrontation, as I expect you're going to have to remove the Cubmaster, Treasurer, and several Den Leaders from their positions, with the assistance of your Unit Commissioner, District Executive, and Chartered Organization Representative / Institution Head.  Then you're going to have to create a new Committee and appoint/recruit a new Cubmaster and Den Leaders -- all without scaring off all of the existing cubs and parents ( though if they're as sick of the status quo as you are, perhaps they'll pitch in? )

 

If you really want to tackle a coup d'etat, the first thing you'll need to do is go to your council office and plonk down a check for $24 USD to get your membership application taken care of.  Hopefully its been signed by your Chartered Organization Representative, and not pencil-whipped by the prior Chair on his/her way out the door.


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#18 RMI2.0

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:46 AM

Please review the below quote from the OP:

 

 

OP is not the Committee Chairperson.  Even though she may very well have been performing the tasks of a committee chair, she isn't one.  She isn't a registered adult leader.  She can still walk away.   :)

 

 

 

RMI2.0 - you need to make a decision, and quickly, on what you want to do:  a) take your son and go to a properly functioning Pack, or b) attempt to right a sinking ship who's crew is either ignorant or uncaring of the fact that its taking on water.  If you go the b) route, expect a lot of personal confrontation, as I expect you're going to have to remove the Cubmaster, Treasurer, and several Den Leaders from their positions, with the assistance of your Unit Commissioner, District Executive, and Chartered Organization Representative / Institution Head.  Then you're going to have to create a new Committee and appoint/recruit a new Cubmaster and Den Leaders -- all without scaring off all of the existing cubs and parents ( though if they're as sick of the status quo as you are, perhaps they'll pitch in? )

 

If you really want to tackle a coup d'etat, the first thing you'll need to do is go to your council office and plonk down a check for $24 USD to get your membership application taken care of.  Hopefully its been signed by your Chartered Organization Representative, and not pencil-whipped by the prior Chair on his/her way out the door.

 

Mr. Bob I thank you because think you've really honed in on the key points I was trying to articulate. I appreciate all of the responses, and I respect those who say I should step up to take over more work. But you've really seen what I'm up against. Already doing the work of so many, and in order to fix that I'd have to do the work of even more...all while facing confrontation, resentment and probable obstacles too numerous to count. 

 

I can get past occasional petty drama, learning curves, disagreements on activities or leadership styles. Those are par for the course, and I understand that. However with this position, with these dynamics, it is like fighting a battle on all fronts to have all of those issues all at once from nearly everyone in it. As far as me doing a coup, we even have an assistant cub master I'd have to get through. He's what I call "all hat, no cattle". He points out the flaws, complains a lot about everyone, comes up with ideas for things other people should do, does nothing. 

 

Anyways, I don't want to sit here and complain and be a hypocrite. I'm just trying to express the magnitude of obstacles I face in just carrying out the basic functions of the position, let alone actually fixing them. 

 

And as you said, rightly so, I'm carrying out the functions without actually being the real chairperson...since they won't even bother to pay for my application.

 

I will politely resign my nomination for the position (since again, its just a nomination at this point).


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#19 qwazse

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:05 AM

FWIW, in the units that I'm in, adults pay for their own application out of their own dues.


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#20 Eagledad

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:18 AM

I totally understand your frustration. And I'm not belittling your situation at all. Changing packs may be your best solution. Whenever I worked with frustrated scouters such as yourself, I told them "welcome to the world of the District Executive." The problem organizations faced with relying on volunteers is that they have to rely on volunteers. Volunteers carry the heavy baggage of inexperience and no skills. Along with that is the added burden of good intentions without follow through. It's very frustrating as you know.

 

Your only choice is to take the program by the horns and run it from the CC position, or step way back. Many really successful units are managed by CC who has the skills to recruit and delegate. If you believe yourself to have those skills, pay the application fee yourself and take over. If you doubt having those skills, then the CC probably isn't a good place for you anyway.

 

As I said, I have seen hundreds of units in your situation. Sadly they are probably the majority of programs to some degree. But someone with the right skills can change all that.

 

Barry


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